By Kent Burress
Someone recently referred to me as a perfectionist. Knowing myself from the inside out, I have to say that assessment is pretty far off base. But it got me to thinking about a couple of things; first what on earth is there about me that would cause someone to say such a thing – and secondly, should I perhaps make a more sincere effort at perfection.
About that first thought, I will admit that I do sometimes – admittedly, pretty often –point out something that can be improved or where some effort fell a little bit short of the mark. And just to be clear, I do this to myself much more than to anyone else. I offer those “observations” because I believe we all should move beyond the comfort zone where we are confident and certain, and push just a little bit harder into the unknown. There are few things more satisfying than accomplishing something you didn’t think you could. But that’s not going to happen unless you move outside of your comfort zone – you’ve got to be a little bit fearless. That’s not pushing toward perfection, that’s just doing all you can to be your very best self.
Now, about whether I should try to be more perfect. I will tell you straight up, it’s just not going to happen. Personally, I think that when we make perfection our focus, we lose sight of all the perfect pieces of life that are unfolding around us. And when we do encounter those perfect moments, they very often are not found in the midst of perfection. Think about some of the most perfect moments; the perfect embrace when a returning soldier is reunited with family, the perfect light of a child’s eyes opening as they rouse from surgery’s anesthesia, the perfect sound of a baby’s first cry – those moments are found in the midst of longing, fear, pain and chaos – hardly perfection.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a big appreciator of perfection, but I believe perfection is a tool, not a goal. Perfection is a light that helps us see the ways we can be better, it illuminates areas where we have fallen short, it helps us chart a better life path- and frankly it’s very good at showing us where we just flat out screwed up. But more importantly the light of perfection is reflected in our successes, our joys, our passions, our loves – in all those moments when we shine.
So back to paragraph two of this post, and that possible personal character imperfection I mentioned – here’s something we can all do to make our imperfect lives a whole lot better. Take a moment, take several moments throughout the day, and notice all that is perfect around you. You may be surprised at what you find.